About Matthew's Friends Canada
Our team is committed to upholding the mission of Matthew’s Friends Canada by:
- Raising public and professional awareness of ketogenic diet therapy as a treatment option
- Providing relevant, evidence based information
- Providing support to families and patients during their journey of treatment
- Supporting learning/training of health care professionals
Jennifer Fabe BSc.MSc.R.D.
Improved quality of life and seizure control in children with medically refractory seizures can be achieved with ketogenic diet treatment. Jennifer Fabe has experienced great challenge and fulfillment as the registered dietitian of the Ketogenic Diet Program in the Division of Neurology at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Although an effective treatment for epilepsy, she has witnessed the limited access to ketogenic treatment in many countries including Canada. Because of her front line clinical experience – Jennifer has been innovative in developing the ‘Low and Slow’ outpatient ketogenic diet initiation method. Jennifer has trained other Canadian centers and supported international centers to begin their programmes.
She has been an invited speaker at a range of local to international events and received recognitions for all these efforts. Some of these recognitions include the prestigious Centennial Alumni of Influence Award from the University of Saskatchewan and the H.O.P.E Award from the Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton Non Profit Organization. Emma Williams MBE and CEO of Matthew’s Friends Global appointed Jennifer to lead the Canadian branch. Jennifer now proudly serves as the president of Matthew’s Friends Canada since its establishment in 2015. With the honor of leading this nonprofit organization Jennifer enthusiastically seeks partnerships, raises awareness in the community, supports ketogenic diet families & health care professionals as well as participates in guideline initiatives and research.
Cynthia comes to Matthew’s Friends Canada as the Executive Director of a community epilepsy agency Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton (EHPH) www.ehph.org and has been with the organization since 2009. EHPH provides counselling, support and public education through various programs for people living with epilepsy, their families and caregivers. The charity is also dedicated to raising epilepsy awareness through public education speaking forums such as schools, clinic, businesses and community events. With over 25 years of experience in the volunteer sector and a combined marketing, business and financial background, Cynthia has been dedicated to develop the charity with marked steady growth. As a strong communicator and caring listener, she believes building community partnerships will provide the strong foundation needed to successfully execute the goals, mission and values. Through this work, Cynthia became interested in learning more about the ketogenic diet as another way of supporting families who are frustrated by failed traditional therapies.
Cynthia is the Board Treasurer for the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance (CEA), a Canada-wide network of grassroots organizations dedicated to the promotion of independence and quality of life for people with epilepsy and their families, through support services, information, advocacy, and public awareness. www.epilepsymatters.com.
As a Stakeholder, Cynthia’s life is personally and professionally entrenched in epilepsy education, advocacy and fundraising for both the community agency and Matthew’s Friends Canada. Cynthia strives to be a notable leader in the community with a passion for helping people living with seizures and educating the community about Epilepsy and this will transfer into her work with Matthew’s Friends Canada.
Cynthia holds a Bachelor’s Degree and is currently completing a Certificate in Non-Profit Management (CNM) at the University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC).
My name is Nicole Palmieri and I am the Treasurer for Matthew’s Friends Canada. I also work full time for Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton as the Program & Client Service’s Manager. Professionally, I have been part of the Epilepsy community for over 4 years and love what I do. I work with children, teens, adults, seniors and families and provide information, support and education.
I have a BA from Western University where I majored in Psychology and Criminology and then went on to Fanshawe College where I completed my Social Service Worker diploma. Currently I am fostering a future dog guide from the Lions Foundation of Canada. Her name is Bubble and she comes with my wherever I go. I am also a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton.
I love being involved in my community and look forward to all of the new people I meet through my professional and volunteering experiences.
Sarah is the Board Secretary for Matthew’s Friends Canada. Her responsibilities include general administration and organization of any conferences or meetings we have. She brings her expertise to Matthew’s Friends from her work as the full time Senior Administrative Assistant and Residency Training Program Coordinator for the Division of Pediatric Neurology in the Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University/McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario where she has worked for 30 years. She has organized many conferences for both the Division of Pediatric Neurology and its Residency Training Program, including the annual Combined Neuroscience Symposium for the divisions of Pediatric Neurology, Adult Neurology and Neurosurgery. She has also been involved in the planning of the Bi-Annual Pediatric Neuro-Development and Behavioural Conference. In the past Sarah has also been a board member for Dundas Little League Baseball where she helped to organize the many baseball tournaments that were run as well as the seasonal house league games and concession stand.
Sarah is quite content to stay in the background but is very obsessive that everything runs smoothly and is done well.
Sarah also has a daughter with Epilepsy and can relate to and understand the worries of families affected by Epilepsy.
Parent – Outreach Liaison
Tammy Willey is a veteran Keto mother of two sons aged 16 and 21. She lives in Ottawa with her husband of 22 years and is a certified yoga instructor specializing in restorative techniques. She became aware of, and administered, the Ketogenic Diet 20 years ago – well before the Internet could be of any help!
At 9 months of age her son Kyle developed AED (antiepileptic drug) resistant seizures. Tammy’s determination to try dietary therapy became even stronger, despite Kyle’s neurologist’s scepticism regarding the diet. Within weeks of administering the Ketogenic Diet he was seizure free, and remained on the diet for approximately 2 years.
Administering the diet, especially in those days, required patience, dedication and keen organizational skills. Tammy recalls this time as a “gruelling labour of love”.
Tammy has volunteered at Montreal Children’s Hospital’s Neurology Department, the Charlie Foundation and was part of the Patient Panel (Neurology) for the McGill University Health Centre.
Several years after her son was weaned from the diet, Tammy was approached to develop ketogenic recipes. This opportunity rekindled her interest in the keto diet and she enjoys the challenge of creating and tweaking recipes to make them ketogenic.
Tammy has attended and presented at numerous conferences internationally, sharing her insights, her experience, and her recipes. Seeing the continued dedication of health professionals in the field of dietary therapy gives Tammy hope that all children in need may continue to benefit from their hard work.
Tammy’s goal is to be available to families new to the diet, or anyone connected to the keto world, and assist them in any way possible. Whether it is by their side, over the phone or via email, she simply wants to help.
What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
A medical ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate, high fat diet which changes the metabolism in the body from burning glucose for energy to burning fat for energy. It is currently a recognised treatment for intractable (drug resistant) epilepsy, Glut 1 Deficiency and Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Deficiency. Increasingly the diet is being looked at in other neuro-metabolic conditions as well as Brain Cancer.